Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

This is the place to discuss not just allotments but all general gardening problems and queries which don't fit into the specific categories below.
(formerly allotments and tips, hints and problems)
Post Reply
noplasticbags
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 10:09 pm

Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 242783Post noplasticbags »

Ooooo ........excited now, I've never asked a question before :wave:

My old greenhouse was beyond repair. The glass and frame were removed ages ago. But the base and concrete(?) sides are still there. It's about 6ft by 10ft, and the concrete sides are about 8 inches high.
Could someone tell me how deep I need to make it? I'm going to buy in topsoil to fill it, but need to know how far down I need to dig before I do that (I'm hoping not too deep!!).

It's in quite a shady area with only dappled sun and surrounded by trees - I presume they must have been small when the original owner sited the greenhouse but are now about 25 feet, some conifers, some leafy ones (know nothing about trees) :oops: :oops:

Could someone also tell me what would be a good idea to plant there too?

Thank you :iconbiggrin:

User avatar
baldybloke
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Wiltshire

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 242785Post baldybloke »

One of the reason for using a raised bed system is so that you don't compact the soil by walking on them. Ideally the width of the beds should be of a width that the middle can be reached from both sides.
Has anyone seen the plot, I seem to have lost mine?

noplasticbags
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 10:09 pm

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 242786Post noplasticbags »

Sorry, didn't explain properly. There is a path already in the middle from when it was a greenhouse. From there I can reach it all without treading on the soil. I intend to either make sides to the path and then the topsoil will be in basically a long U shape, or fill in the whole area with soil and re-lay the path on top

User avatar
baldybloke
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:50 pm
Location: Wiltshire

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 242787Post baldybloke »

That should work out fine then. Good luck.
Has anyone seen the plot, I seem to have lost mine?

User avatar
Slippery Jack
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:44 pm

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 243025Post Slippery Jack »

Hi!

Raised beds need to be no wider than twice your reach. Mine are 6'x14'. I'm reasonably tall, so that's fine for me. Once in a while I need to step on the soil, but as long as it's only occasional, you're not going to do any real harm. If you can reach okay, it's worth considering a wider bed as you gain more growing space. If your arms just won't reach that far though, stick to the traditional narrower beds (max 4').

As for what to grow, I have a few factors that I take into consideration.

1) What do I want to eat?

By far the most important consideration. It's not worth growing more than you can reasonably expect to get through. Storing and preserving can help make the most of gluts, but just working out beforehand what you really enjoy eating and won't get bored of is the single most important factor.

2) What is better fresh?

Some veg is just better fresh. It may store, but it loses flavour and texture. I don't grow many spuds or onions because they aren't any better fresh than stored (in my opinion). I do grow spring onions, radishes, beetroot, carrots, leafy greens and asparagus because they are so much nicer fresh than anything I can get in the shops. And speaking of shops...

3) What is expensive to buy but cheap to grow?

Another reason I don't favour huge fields of spuds is because they are so cheap to buy. Much better in my view to grow those vegetables that are expensive to buy at the greengrocers. Tomatoes, courgettes, peppers and cucumbers are very easy to grow in quantity, whilst in the shops they are increasingly expensive. Salads and herbs too. It's actually not as easy as many people seem to think to save money by growing your own, at least not in the short term. By selecting the pricier varieties though, you are getting a little bit further ahead of the game.

4) What can I grow that I can't find at the shops?

I grow my own tomatillos, chard and kohlrabi, but if I had to buy them, I wouldn't be able to get them most of the time. By picking unusual plants or just unusual varieties of familiar ones, you can get some exotic treats from your beds.

Hope this helps. :)

noplasticbags
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 10:09 pm

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 243039Post noplasticbags »

Hi! Thanks for the info. I've managed to grow tomatoes (I love being able to go out and just pick what I need fresh), courgettes and salad leaves just in containers on the patio this year, so I'll definitely be doing those. I've put in a few onions, just because someone gave me those, but they can go in any old bit of the garden

But, that's been on the sunny patio. Will they manage in the more shady area where my raised bed will be?

Still need someone to tell me how deep it needs to be please..........

User avatar
Flo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2051
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 243111Post Flo »

It should be deep enough for the roots of the plants that you intend to grow in it plus a little extra. It's not an exact science. And they usually need topping up at the end of the season with compost, manure, whatever is going.

User avatar
boboff
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 243116Post boboff »

I would no dig it.

Put Cardboard down on the mud bits.

Build a frame so you can fill with 12-30 inches of soil, this depends on what you have and want to spend, the more the better, the higher the easier it is to "tend"

As its shady I might consider doing the shadiest side with pernennial fruits and herbs, other side keep for regular fresh eat salad crops, maybe even a cheap staged plastic greenhouse thing on one end to try your toms in again.

Or even consider putting in extra high sides or corner posts to rig up a cloche thing as an early seed bed for spring?
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.
http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/

noplasticbags
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 10:09 pm

Re: Raised bed - how deep? What to grow?

Post: # 243441Post noplasticbags »

Hi Flo and Boboff - thanks for the reply. I shall buy in sufficient topsoil to bring the level up to the top of the concrete surround - this must be about 10 inches. Am glad to hear I won't need to dig!!

Will try to add some sort of cloche system - am lucky that I have a large conservatory, so that starts my seeds off :icon_smile:

(Feel like I now am a "real" forum person now I've had a Boboff reply :iconbiggrin: )

Post Reply